GitHub is one of the most popular places to host open source code, because it’s free for open source projects and has good integration with the open-source version control system Git.
There are two kinds of users on GitHub: individuals (also known as regular “accounts”) and Organizations.
A government or government agency should use an Organization (see github.com/CityOfNewYork for an example). Each developer – including government employees, employees of contractors, and anyone else – that needs to work with the Organization’s projects will have their own individual account, which will be a member of the appropriate “team” in the Organization. In GitHub, only individual accounts can send and receive changes to a code repository. However, Organizations can own repositories, and can control which individuals are members of which teams within the Organization.
If you’re setting up your government’s Organization for the first time, just go to github.com/organizations/new. You may be prompted to log in first, in which case do so as your individual account – you will be the first administrative owner of the new Organization, but you can add other admins later.
Converting an individual account to an Organization.
Sometimes a government has accidentally already created an individual account, and now needs to convert to an Organization. Here’s how:
- Log in as the individual (“jrandom” in this example)
- Click on the username near the upper right corner, taking you to (e.g.) github.com/jrandom
- Click on the “Edit your profile” button also near the upper right, taking you to github.com/account
- In the horizontal navigation bar, the rightmost button should be “Organizations”. Click on it, taking you to github.com/account/organizations
- On the right side of the page, there should be a small, somewhat faint button saying “Turn jrandom into an organization”. Click it and follow the instructions.